Nautanki Theatre
Nautanki Theatre

South Asian Theatre Festival

Nautanki Theatre in its endeavour of cross-cultural collaboration presented the first ever South Asian Theatre Festival in Australia on 24th & 25th November 2016 at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta. There are many South Asian community theatre groups who have been running plays for many years. Nautanki Theatre brought together three of these organisations to bring you three ‘one act’ in language plays back to back in the two evenings for the first year of the Festival. These plays were presented in association with Sydney Marathi Association, Sydney Nadaga Priya and representatives from the Bengali Association of NSW. The evenings were extremely successful with full house booking and positive feedback from the audience.

The Jungle Book - A play that ask question about identity

The Jungle Book is the Australian premiere of internationally-acclaimed playwright, Craig Higginson’s adaptation. Featuring mesmerising shadow puppets and stunning music, this play honours the book by Rudyard Kipling which has enchanted families for generations, whilst asking the question ‘who is your true family'? This powerful and magical version of a much-loved classic is as resonant now as it was when it first appeared – both within South Africa and beyond its borders.

In Search of Muluk

In Search of a Muluk (refuge) is a documentary about the Fairlawn Hotel in Calcutta, India. The Fairlawn Hotel has been a home away from home for not only Indians but for tourists around the world. The Hotel was a live set in the 1992 film City of Joy directed by Roland Joffe starring Patrick Swayze. The Fairlwan Hotel has been in Mrs. Violet Smith's family since her mother made the hotel in 1936. Having fled their home in Armenia to escape persecution Mrs. Smith's Armenian family came to India and made Calcutta their home. With nothing more than the clothes on their backs Mrs Smith's parents worked very hard in their adopted homeland to establish themselves. When they made the Fairlawn Hotel little did they realise that not only were they adding to the rich cultural & architectural heritage of Calcutta but they were creating a Hotel that would be the place where the Kendals would showcase Shakesprearen theatre to large audiences, a Hotel that would be associated with the start of a love story of Mr. Shashi Kapoor who hails from the largest Bollywood family dynasties. Mrs. Smith continued for decades to maintain the old world charm of the Fairlawn Hotel where she ensured that each and every guest is made to feel at home. Sadly Mrs. Smith passed away shortly after filming of the documentary completed but the legacy of the Fairlwan Hotel continues attracting people around the globe.

Last Dance at Dum Dum – is a play about the dying breed of Anglo-Indians living in Calcutta

Set in early 80s, this is a serious comedy about a vividly memorable gang of eccentrics and exotics who are attempting to come to terms with their pasts and their fears for the future. Their world is filled with Violet’s hilarious obsession with all things British, Elliot’s questionable dress sense, Daphne’s weakness for French records and the confrontational outbursts of Muriel Marsh who in spite of her ill health would do anything to defend their territory against the religious fundamentalists looming just behind the garden wall.

Bedtime Story – An engaging plot with humor and a parallel - Riverside Theatre - 4th to 6th June 2015

Bedtime Story is based on the Indian Epic, the Mahabharata. Set in ancient India the Mahabharata tells a story about the deadly enmity between two royal families, the Kauravas and the Pandavas who were cousins. While the Pandavas were India’s greatest warrior heroes, their side was favoured and supported by Lord Krishna; the presiding deity of The Mahabharata and India’s most human and beloved God.

Indian Embrace – A maiden theatre production - Riverside Theatre - 21st to 25th August 2013

Indian Embrace is set in Varanasi, India. The time is now. The mood is uplifting, sometimes comedic. A tragedy bonds an elderly Indian aristocrat and an Australian expatriate. Their friendship is stronger than family ties. Then, the young Indian wants to immigrate to Australia and the trouble starts. There's double-trouble when the Australian family arrive! Old India clashes with modern India. Youthful enthusiasm challenges traditional elders. Flashy business style confronts the establishment. These and other conflicts are revealed by nuance, unspoken tensions and respect for differences. There are many twists and turns as two cultures shed superficial differences to an amazing ending.

East of India – National Maritime Museum, Australia - 24th May, 23rd June and 10th July, 2013

On the 24th May Nautanki Theatre’s Rhapsody band performed at the opening of Vivid festival at Australian National Maritime Museum. The Museum’s 1700m2 rooftop projection is inspired by the colour, patterns and sounds of India to complement the East of India exhibition. Historic vessels were bathed in light and Vivid-goers enjoyed a full program of weekend entertainment featuring live music and Indian inspired Tapas and Waterside pop-up bar.

23rd June Nautanki Theatre organised a day of family fun focused on Indian culture inspired by East of India - Forgotten trade with Australia exhibition. Spectacular Bollywood dance and Indian percussion music performances, henna tattoo painting were organised. The day concluded with a high note when a room full of people from all ages participated in an hour long Bollywood dance workshop and continued partying .

10th July was an afternoon of Indian percussion music workshop organised by Nautanki Theatre. Children and adults participated in this workshop and learnt tabla and various Indian percussion instruments.

Tagore's 150th Birth Day Celebration, Sydney, Australia - 21st April 2012

The two days celebration started with Tagore's play Bisarjan. The English translation done by Dr. Sudipto Chatterjee an academic from U.K. was presented with little inclusion of Hindi and Original Bangla dialogue to experiment a multi-lingual yet predominantly an English play. The play was directed by Joyraj Bhattacharjee at the Tom Mann Theatre in Surry Hills on the 21st April 2012. The second day celebration was on the 5th of May at the Lennox Theatre in Parramatta Riverside premises. A documentary made by Satyajit Ray on Tagore followed by Songs offering of Laisa Ahmed Lisa from Bangladesh have been thoroughly enjoyed by the full house audience. The event was supported by Ministry of Culture, Govt of India and encouraged by the High Commissioner of Bangladesh, Canberra who himself was present on the concluding day along with Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Local Member of Parliament and Consular of India.

Opera of Bengal, Melbourne, Australia - 30th October 2010

The famous opera of Bengal was performed in Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia. The Victorians witnessed solo performance of the Indian Opera Noti Binodini on the 30th October 2010 at Drum Theatre in Dandenong. The production team consisted of performers and technicians from India and Australia. All proceedings were donated to Vedanta Centre, Australia.

Noti Binodini, Kolkata, India - 3rd January 2010

Syd-Kol produced the theatre "Noti Binodini" in legendry Star Theatre in Kolkata on the 3rd January 2010. It was the first of its kind that artists and representatives from Sydney joined hands with artists, technicians and production unit based in Kolkata to stage a theatre in the city. This show obtained necessary publicity in Kolkata through the print and electronic media. The evening witnessed almost a houseful auditorium. The theatre was produced by Syd-Kol and directed by Soumen Mondal. The effort and presentation was appreciated by the theatre loving people of this city which has an extremely rich cultural heritage.


Jatra, Sydney, Australia - 26th October 2008

Syd-Kol recently organised a gala entertainment night on the 26th October 2008 at the Amphitheatre in Sydney Show Ground – Olympic Park. ‘Jatra’ - a form of Opera which is very popular in rural areas of India was performed. Two highly acclaimed theatre and film personalities from Kolkata, India were present on that evening as guest performers to exchange the cultural harmony of Indian living in Australia. All profits generated from this function were donated to Vedanta Sarada Society of NSW, Australia and Women With Disabilities, Australia.